The battle over the word “unlimited” has begun, as AT&T customers are fighting back against the Death Star’s throttling of so-called “data hogs,” even though available info shows that most of these people are using completely reasonable amounts of data for owners of unlimited plans.
First, there was the California man who obtained instant folk hero status by taking AT&T to small claims court and walking away victorious. Now, thousands of AT&T customers have put their name to a petition asking CEO and Dark Lord of the Sith Randall Stephenson to rethink the idea.
As of now, more than 10,300 signatures have been added to the petition on Change.org.
And while AT&T may have successfully preempted any class-action lawsuits by putting mandatory binding arbitration clauses in its contracts, it can’t stop customers from raising their voices as one — and it definitely can’t stop them from leaving, especially if their grandfathered unlimited data plan is no longer an incentive to stay.
Here is the text of the letter on Change.org:
Dear Mr. Stephenson,
I demand that you immediately stop throttling the data of customers with unlimited data subscriptions. Customers retained unlimited plans because they were promised unlimited data. Slowing their download speeds by up to 99% effectively prevents mobile internet users from using their mobile devices for anything but the most basic of uses.
Your data throttling, which takes place without due process, clearly violates the spirit of the agreement your customers entered with you. Even worse, in many cases it appears that customers have received warnings for using too much data when using 2 – 3 gigabytes of data per month — as much as the two tiered data plans AT&T now offers. AT&T has proven itself to be a bad-faith actor with respect to its customers again and again.
It’s galling that in the face of criticism for this policy, AT&T has repeatedly blamed its customers for using too much data! Instead AT&T should look at its persistent failure to invest sufficiently in its own networks while selling data plans for which it couldn’t provide adequate service. In fact, your company just threw away $3 billion it could have used for network expansion on a failed attempt to buy T-Mobile.
If the public is to have faith in your word as a company and as a brand, it is imperative that you stop throttling customers’ data on unlimited plans today.